Railway hurdle for GSPL cross country pipelines

Vol 17, PW 5 (03 Oct 13) Midstream & Downstream

Frequent travellers know delays are as common on Indian Railways as dirty toilets.

Yet Gujarat State Petronet (GSPL) probably never expected the state-owned railway to hold up its plans to lay three major cross-country gas pipelines from Mehsana in Gujarat to Bhatinda in Punjab, from Bhatinda in Punjab to Srinagar in Jammu & Kashmir and from Mallavaram in Andhra Pradesh to Bhilwara in Rajasthan. At GSPL's 15th Annual General Meeting (AGM) on September 27, GSPC managing director Tapan Ray admitted delays to the pipeline projects because of pending clearances to cross railway lines.

“There are problems with the railways and we are taking this up with the (Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulatory) Board,” said Ray, responding to questions from a shareholder. “We are proceeding ahead carefully.

" Time is running out for GSPL. According to the LoA from the Board on May 18, 2011 it must complete all three pipelines by May 18 next year.

Together the three pipelines are estimated to cost Rs13,704cr ($2.19bn) and have a combined gas transmission capacity of 90m cm/d. But GSPL needs permission to cross the railways at 26 points along the Mehsana to Bhatinda pipeline, seven crossings for the Bhatinda to Srinagar pipeline and 20 crossings for the Mallavaram to Bhilwara pipeline.

Fortunately most of the Right of Use (RoU) clearances have come in, with permission awaited only in Haryana and Jammu & Kashmir. Environment ministry clearances were won in April.

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